I’ve always said that if Al Gore or Barack Obama, for that matter, had been president on 9/11, they would’ve been impeached within a year. It’s just how the modern Republican opposition functions. No good deed goes unpunished. Rescue the economy from a second Great Depression? Impeach. Pass affordable healthcare? Impeach. Oust Qaddafi? Impeach. Kill Bin Laden? Impeach.
Well my perennial observation has been vindicated once again, this time in South Dakota where the state Republican Party has voted to support the impeachment of the president. The reason this time? Bowe Bergdahl, among other things.
According to a report by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the resolution charges that Obama has “violated his oath of office in numerous ways.” For specific examples, the resolution names Obama’s decision to trade five Taliban combatants for captive US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, his assertion that Americans who like their insurance can keep it under Obamacare, and the recent release by the Environmental Protection Agency of new regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
Yes, the liberation of the last American POW in Afghanistan is a high crime and/or misdemeanor, worthy of impeachment. Now, they’re probably arguing that it has more to do with the five Taliban detainees who were removed from Guantanamo and placed under house arrest in Qatar.
But to repeat something we’ve discussed many times here: five detainees are nothing compared with 600 detainees freed under the previous administration, one of which went on to become the head of ISIS. If negotiating prisoner exchanges is now an impeachable offense, then whenever we’re at war, our captured fighting men and women had better learn how to eat grubs and deal with physical abuse, even torture, for much longer than they otherwise would have. This is the message the South Dakota GOP is sending to the White House: free our troops via traditional prisoner swaps, face an impeachment trial.
Of course, it’s really not exactly about that. It’s all about Obama Derangement Syndrome. It’s overblown outrage and hysteria commensurate with five years of a president who’s hated and demonized by the far-right. What’s being endorsed here actually diminishes the heft of legitimate grounds for the process, and turns the sometimes necessary weapon against executive crimes into nothing more than a trivial ideological yalp. Much of the blame for this trivialization of impeachment goes back much further in time than ther South Dakota GOP. 99 percent of the blame goes to the congressional GOP during the late 1990s.